A Message to the Global Refugee Forum from members of the CW4WAfghan Youth Advocacy Network 

Open Letter Calling for Support Towards Refugee Education

Dear global community,

As you gather to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the UN Declaration of Human Rights and participate in the Global Refugee Forum, we, a group of Afghan-Canadian refugee youth and members of Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan Youth Advocacy Network, come together to share our experiences, and request your support in spreading the word regarding Afghan refugees. The word “refugee” itself carries a heavy burden, as it represents the stories of families forced to leave their homes, friends separated from their loved ones, and dreams and talents that have been stifled by the ravages of war and conflict. This also encompasses the lives of students who have been deprived of their right to education, unable to attend school due to the turmoil in their home countries. 

According to UNHCR, There are 2.6 million registered Afghan refugees in the world, of whom 2.2 million are registered in Iran and Pakistan alone. Another 3.5 million people are internally displaced, having fled their homes searching for refuge within the country. Even after being successfully resettled in peaceful countries, many refugee and undocumented Afghans continue to face barriers when trying to access education. In both Iran and Pakistan, a wide majority of refugee and undocumented Afghan children are unable to attend school, and thus deprived of their education. This lack of access to education not only hinders their personal development but also isolates them from the society and culture in which they live, leading to a myriad of negative consequences such as mental health problems, abuse, child marriages and more. It is crucial to recognize that education is not just a fundamental human right, but also a means for refugees to rebuild their lives and contribute positively to the communities they are a part of. 

This year during the Global Refugee Forum, we call upon the global community to support initiatives that provide educational opportunities for refugees. This support can come in various forms, such as traditional schooling, scholarships, or online learning. We believe that online education, in particular, can be a powerful tool for refugees, as it allows them to learn in a great capacity without being restricted by location or financial struggles. We urge the United Nations and its member states to play a pivotal role in creating a community of educational support for refugees. Initiatives such as “Teachers Beyond Borders,” where educators from around the world can teach refugees online with the support of the UN, are able to provide quality education to refugees in need. As we mark this pivotal global gathering, let us work together to ensure that every refugee has the opportunity to access education, regardless of their circumstances. By doing so, we can empower refugees to rebuild their lives and make meaningful contributions to the world. Thank you for your attention to this critical issue, and let us continue to strive for a world where every individual, including refugees, has the chance to learn, grow, and thrive.